Wander project the dogs walk

When I walk alone, I get lost in my thoughts. When I walk with others, I get lost in conversation. I love both walks. I don’t walk alone as often as I used to back in the day. Unless it is really hot outside, I am normally walking with either a lab or two labs. R&D has taken over the walking process in our house, and made it their walk! I know that previously I never thought about what it meant to have someone that wanted to go walking with you. Certainly, there was a time, when the twins and our daughter were younger, that we walked bout the neighborhood on the weekends. The kids would grab their razor scooters and tear off, my wife and I would follow behind walking.

With the addition of Raven to our family, the twins and I made a deal. No dog if they didn’t agree to walk the dog every day. Now the two dogs own the walk!  Except when it is hot. Then Raven isn’t as happy. She still runs around inside, getting ready for the walk, but she wisely slows down when it is really hot. Sometimes when the temperature rises, we have to be slower to make sure we are ok. Humans, dogs, and other animals can easily overheat. Being prudent is a wise choice. I have, over the years, pushed myself too hard when it was really hot. I know it is important not to do so now. Raven learned that lesson very early and slowed down when it is super hot!

The last part of our walk is a choice. When we arrive at the clubhouse, we can turn left. That takes us back to our house, on the shady route. The second route is also shady, but it includes the hill that Raven hates. We normally make the call based on how hot it is, and how tired the dogs are. The shady path that doesn’t include the hill. It is flat and runs through the neighborhood. The other oath is also shady, once you get past the front of the neighborhood, but includes the hill. In the winter, Raven doesn’t care about the hill. In the summer she hates it! Dylan just wants to be on his walk but, since they are both getting older, we need to be careful of them overheating.


wander project deer for dinner?

The point of known return is an aeronautics term. It describes the moment of the commit. That line, or distance that once you get there, you can still safely turn around and return. After that point, it is equal-distant, and then you are closer to where you are going than you are to where you were. There are a couple of those points in our daily walk. We track them when it is cloudy and may rain.  We do have a second option, and that is the point of calling home. We’ve been out in a few torrential downpours over the years. Sometimes we have umbrellas and weather the storm. Sometimes we stand under a tree and wait for someone to drive over and pick us up.

(let’s invite the deer for dinner, Dad!)

Sometimes, we just get wet. Yesterday was such a day on the walk. The rain wasn’t enough to slow us down. It was comfortable outside with a high around 75, The Labs complain about it being too hot right around 80. The dogs are older now, Dylan has been walking with me for seven years, Raven has been walking for five years now. Dylan joined our family in our first Maryland house. Raven joined us after the old lady (Fran) passed away. I remember the first walk we took Raven on. Her previous life had been hard; she was a rescue. It took her a couple of months to adjust to walking every day. I suspect we’ve prolonged her life by 2-3 years by walking every day.

The pictures today are of the part of our walk that is just after the fire station as we crest the hill and take the short connection to the road that runs behind our house. This is the first point of known return. We know that it is equal-distant from the firehouse to the house, either way. Although if it is raining hard, we can cut through the back yard of the neighborhood and shave off a ½ mile. We’ve done that in a downpour a couple of times. Dylan’s favorite part of the walk comes after we turn the corner past the firehouse. Then, we walk towards the large Greenway behind our neighborhood. There is one in front of our neighborhood and one behind our neighborhood. We’ve seen deer run across the road there many times.

Dylan would like to invite a deer to the house for dinner.


wander project the actual daily wander…

Dylan and Raven were jealous of the wonderful walks posted on Virily. They asked me to take pictures and share them, showing off their short walk. They, Dylan and Raven are getting older, so we can’t take the long walks we used to take. Dylan is 8 and Raven Is nearly 7. We shorten the summer walks because of the heat. They, the Labs, do well with winter, spring, and fall walk. When their bodies can adjust and cool off. When it gets hotter, it is much harder on their bodies. We have to be aware of heat stroke. We carry water with us, and we stop more often in shady areas. Where in the winter we walk 4.o miles a day give or take a little, in the summer that walk drops.

We end up between 1.5 and 2.6 miles a day. We have to take the long game approach so that the older dogs don’t get sick. Plus, per our vet, they are both a couple of pounds heavier than they should be, and that impacts dogs on walks. Anyway, welcome to the daily walk! We start out going down what Raven calls the death hill. She HATES walking up the hill. It is funny, the hill we go down is the same height as the hill we have to go up to start the walk. We leave our house, head to the street that goes down the big hill and go down the big hill. We then go up the hill, but the difference between the first part of the hill and the second part is the second more gradual.

Where the first hill is less than a ¼ mile and about a 180-foot change, the second hill is a ½ mile and around 200 feet up.  Raven hates the hill the second time around. When we leave our neighborhood and head up the first uphill, towards the firehouse, we are on the business street part of the walk. The road we walk next to is the main road of Germantown, Maryland. By the time we get to the firehouse, we normally see 10-20 cars. At the first station, we are near to the top of the hill, we turn left on another road. The second road goes towards the Potomac River or heads towards Gaithersburg.  The apartments in the last two pictures are right before we reach the fire station!

More of the R&D walk tomorrow!


Wander project puppy day!

Today in the US is National Puppy Day. (this blog is published 3 days in arrears), Our puppies are a little older. They are both Lab Rescues. The Lab Rescue of Maryland and Virginia to be exact. They have been together, the two of them for five years in just two weeks. Raven joined our family in April 2014. Dylan joined our family in June 2012. In between the arrival of Raven, we still had Fran who passed away in March 2014. 2014 was a bad year for our family. But today is a celebration day. In the spring of 2014, we decided to get a second dog. Fran was older and had a leg injury (torn ACL) that limited her ability to walk. I wanted a dog that could go on walks with me, so I didn’t have to walk alone.

As happened with the adoption of Fran, My daughter and I spent some time thinking, researching and selecting a dog. It was my daughter who said: “we should adopt a rescue dog.” We met with the LRMV folks; they decided that we were worthy of a second dog. It was interesting we filled out a survey and had a home visit before we were allowed to adopt a new pal. We went through the same process when we got Raven two years later. Then we started working with a coordinator to find the right dog. It was in late m May of 2012 that we were informed that there was a possible dog for our family, would we be interested. We had originally said, female, but the dog they found was male.

We drove down to Richmond, and Dylan joined our family. He is a lab mix, with some hound other than Lab in his background. He doesn’t bark, the bays. Richmond VA is roughly 2 hours away from DC, and nearly 3 hours from Maryland. We ended up going to the house where Dylan was with Fran. Fran never liked Dylan. But she tolerated him. We picked Dylan up and drove home. Raven was also picked in Richmond VA. She was on the east side of Richmond, Dylan was on the West Side. Where Fran never liked Dylan, Raven and Dylan were besties from the first moment they met. Raven also picked the Twins as her people. So today we celebrate the graduated puppies in our house!


Wander project Wander to warm!!!!

I have been sharing lots of pictures of vacation Dylan and Vacation Raven. Yesterday evening as we were completing our daily walk, one of the twins reminded me of the Virginia Beach vacation. That was where Dylan decided he liked Potato Latka’s, a lot. We left a bowl of dog food out in our hotel room, for the three days we were on Virginia Beach, he didn’t eat dog food. Vacation Dylan doesn’t eat dog food. Vacation Raven does, but vacation Dylan takes the full opportunity not to be home, Dylan. Dogs on the furniture, dogs as family members are arguments I have with people from time to time. I have always believed that dogs or cats are members of the family.

If they get on the furniture, oh well.

My favorite pictures in this collection come from early in our second visit to Oak Island North Carolina. We had enjoyed going the year before with my family, so we went a second time. The pictures, in the beginning, today are off early in the week. I think either the first or second day. It has to be the second day because I took the filter off the camera after the first day.  Ruined a really good sunset with the filter, I had on. Anyway, the kids spent the first part of the week convincing Raven that moving water was ok. I suspect she ran afoul of moving water in the time before she joined our family. She didn’t like moving water when she first joined our family.

In the first couple of days, one of the twins would carry her into the water. She looked upset but not terrified. Raven had joined our family four months before and had picked the Twins as her original people. Little did we know that Raven had a long game that involved converting my wife into her person as well. The long game worked, my wife is now as devoted to Raven as the Twins are. She, in their eyes, can do no wrong! Anyway the first couple of days the twins would walk out into the water carrying her. By the end of the week, she would get in the water. Now she gets in without worrying; I guess the good memories of a forever home wipe out the bad memories that came with her to the home. Raven, like Dylan, is named for a poet. She is named for the object of Poe’s poem The Raven. Her full name is Raven Poe Andersen. When she does something, she is not supposed to do we add a second middle name (Raven Poe Marie Andersen) for effect. Dylan’s name is Dylan Thomas Andersen for the poet!


dog lover

Wander project dogs, places and greetings…



There was a recent movie, A Dog’s Life, that I didn’t go see in the theaters. Not that I didn’t want to see the movie, but just watching the commercials made me cry and I couldn’t go to a theater and cry for two hours. Those are the movies I need to watch at home so I can watch or read something really funny right after finishing the movie. I learned that after reading the book “Marley and me” while traveling. Also, with the journey’s we’ve taken as a family with the dogs around us. I remember every single dog I have ever been around. From Mac the collie, Anna Banana the Dachshund to Frosty and Duo the Great Pyrenees or Phoebe the Newfoundland. Every dog that lived with us changed the course of our journey. Phoebe was a second mother, always watching us and waiting to be with the family. MacGregor was a beautiful collie. He loved us but he was dad’s dog. He lived literally to see and be around dad.




The journey we take and the ones that dogs take with us really is pretty incredible. First of all, there are those who love more than anything to hang out with cats as well. They see cats the same way that I see dogs. Which is wonderful. They are companions on the road of life! Anyway today’s journey is about the changes dogs make to your family. They, the dogs, have changed as have cats. From their natural and traditional habitats and lifestyle to living with humans. They are the prowlers at night that wander your house and make sure everything is safe. You don’t often hear about guard cats, but guard dogs are not mythical. They are real additions to your home or business. Wandering around at night making sure that everything is where it is and that is where it should be. Sometimes the best part of having a dog or cat living with you, is the greeting when you get home!





Now, when they get to come with us, in their eyes, that is much better. You see then they can make sure we don’t get into trouble or cause mischief. Raven is always nervous when her boys are out and she isn’t supervising them. Much as Fran used to want to be supervising Jakki, all the time. Dylan has given up trying to train me, other than making sure I don’t yell at the TV while watching sports. Then he nips my feet to remind me to be quiet. We have had dogs living with us now in every house we have ever had. Duo lived with us in our rental house in Bloomington before we moved to Cincinnati. Blackie joined us in Fairfield Ohio and lived with us until we moved to Western Hills. Gwen joined us in Western Hills, Mt. Airy and Greenwood. Fran lived with us in Greenwood and Maryland. Dylan joined us while in Maryland living in Gaithersburg and moved with us to Germantown. Raven joined us in Germantown, three years ago now. Dogs are wonderful additions to our life!.


dog lover

Wander project Christmas 2015 (and wandering the campus of IU)


As we wander to Christmas 2015 we see Raven clearly in charge of the driving process. She joined our family after the passing of Fran. In many ways Raven is a game changer. A force of nature, rather than a Labrador. She found a way to be pals with everyone in the house. She is a great car rider, a great walker and great boater. She is also a huge goofball. This taken in the van on the way to Grandma’s house. It is funny how dogs transform traveling. First off you have to be careful where you stop. But you also stop more because you are worried that they might have to go. We tend to stop less now that the kids are older. But more with dogs than we did before if that makes sense. The trip to Indiana from Maryland takes us through Pennsylvania. If we want to take the turnpike it saves about an hour and costs 16 bucks. If we take the on-toll road way then we lose an hour or so but it cost s16 bucks plus the extra cost of an hour of car gas.


Dad taught at Indiana University, Barb and I both graduated from IU. This is the new media school that IU has added. It is in the old campus actually one building away from the old quadrangle and the Sample Gates. The Sample Gates are the most photographed entrance to Indiana University. They were added after we moved out of Bloomington. I think that Sample Gates is an odd name. I suspect someone named Sample donated the money to build the gates, but still there has to be a better name. Across the street from the Sample gates is Bloomington’s downtown. Right across from the actual Sample Gates (the end of Kirkwood Avenue) is the building that used to hosue the Gables. The Gables are famous as it used to be a lounge years ago. There was a piano and legend has it that Hoagie Carmichael actually wrote the song Stardust in the Gables. I love the song. The link takes you to a YouTube music of the song!


There is my crew hanging out with Herman B. Wells. When I went to IU Wells was still alive and still active on campus. He was the chancellor at the time I was a student. He was famous for walking campus and talking to people. This picture was taken in the old quadrangle of Indiana University. All the buildings are more than 100 years old. It is also the home of the wooded area in the center of campus and the campus telescope. I got my first glimpse of the universe from that Telescope. We wandered the campus of Indiana University, it was empty because they students had all gone home for the holidays. Well there were a few non-local students still wandering campus but for the most part we got to wander on our own. 2015 was the second straight Christmas trip Jakki couldn’t make, she had to work around the holiday’s. So we were one person short on the trip. As your children get older the moments you get to spend with them become more precious, because eventually they begin to become less and less.


Family Historian